CHAMPCAR/CART: Laguna Seca: Fernandez Racing preview

Fernandez hopes Grand Prix of Monterey is lucky number seven Series veteran confident heading into Laguna Seca weekend The Champ Car World Series heads to Monterey, California, this weekend for Round Seven of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ...

Fernandez hopes Grand Prix of Monterey is lucky number seven
Series veteran confident heading into Laguna Seca weekend

The Champ Car World Series heads to Monterey, California, this weekend for Round Seven of the Bridgestone Presents the Champ Car World Series Powered by Ford. The 2.238-mile permanent road course of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is both a driver and fan favorite and an engineering challenge.

With three top-six results in six rounds of competition to date, Adrian Fernandez is looking to make the Grand Prix of Monterey lucky number seven. Fernandez's last visit to the podium came four races ago with a second-place finish in Long Beach. A successful test at Laguna Seca in late January adds to the optimism in the Fernandez Racing camp. If Fernandez makes it to the top step of the podium this weekend, it will be the first win by a CART owner/driver in over a decade.

Adrian Fernandez , Owner/Driver -- #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Ford-Cosworth/Lola/Bridgestone:

* Will be making his 11th Champ Car appearance at Laguna Seca

* Has finished in the points in eight of 10 starts at Laguna Seca

* Best finish at Laguna Seca was fifth in 1999; best starting position was sixth in 1998

* Qualified 13th last year but was involved in first-lap incident and credited with 18th place

* Currently sits eighth in the championship standings with 37 points

* Career best road-course finish was a win at Mid-Ohio in 1998

* Career best road-course start was pole position at Monterrey, Mexico, last year

"Michel [Jourdain] has won his first race [two weeks ago in Milwaukee]; we are looking to do that as a team. I have won races but not with Fernandez Racing. We have a lot of guests coming to Laguna Seca and it would be fantastic to achieve our first win there. We are working very hard and we are very positive and have learned from our mistakes. We look forward to a good race at Laguna Seca. The track is challenging and it is unique with all the elevation changes. It is a place that I enjoy driving. My dad will be there for Father's Day and his birthday so that will be good. We have a lot of fans in the area and it is always nice to go back to see a lot of friends and fans that have been with us for many years."

FAST FACTS: Will be making his 167th Champ Car career start-- recorded three top-six finishes in six rounds of 2003 competition to date - second at Long Beach, fourth in Monterrey, Mexico, and sixth in Milwaukee-- has qualified seventh or better in all but one race to date [Germany], claiming his best starting position of third in St. Petersburg-- has finished 50 percent of his 50 Champ Car career road course starts in the top 10-- enters his 11th season of Champ Car competition with seven career wins and three pole positions-- 38 years old from Mexico City-- formed Fernandez Racing in the fall of 2000 with Tom Anderson-- only competing owner/driver in the series-- is the third most-winning driver in the current Champ Car field-- ranked 11th in CART all-time career starts-- has 20 Champ Car career podiums to his credit-- last win was at Australia in 2000-- last pole position was at Milwaukee in 2002-- looking for his first win as an owner/driver-- the last win by an owner/driver was in 1992 when Bobby Rahal won at Nazareth.

Track Talk
Eleven turns, elevation changes and the infamous Corkscrew turn make the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca road course a demanding test for both drivers and engineers. Fernandez Racing Race Engineer David Watson notes, "Slow corners with important, fast medium-banked corners make the optimum setup a challenge." Watson estimates top speeds in the 176 mph range with minimum speeds around 42 mph, and 28 gearshifts required each lap. Drivers will be subjected to as much as 3.4 lateral G-force. Sunday's race is scheduled for 87 laps (or a maximum of two hours and 10 minutes). The maximum lap interval for pit stops will be 24 laps requiring a minimum of three stops.

Adrian Fernandez begins his race weekend with the Grand Prix of Monterey Media Day Luncheon trackside at 11:30 am this Thursday. Fernandez will be joined by fellow Champ Car drivers Mario Dominguez, Mario Haberfeld, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Michel Jourdain, Bruno Junqueira, Rodolfo Lavin, Tiago Monteiro and Jimmy Vasser. Later in the day, Fernandez, Dominguez, Lavin and Jourdain will head to Salinas for an "Amigos Autograph Session" at Chevy's Restaurant (1449 North Davis Road) from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm.

As part of Father's Day race weekend activities, 10 winners of the "Breakfast with Champions" promotion will join Fernandez, Dominguez, Lavin and Jourdain and their fathers for breakfast on Saturday morning trackside at the CART Business Unit hospitality at 8:30 am. Fernandez Racing will also host the winner of a Father's Day radio promotion as an honorary pit crew member on race day.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Jimmy Vasser , Bruno Junqueira , Adrian Fernandez , Bobby Rahal , Mario Dominguez , Rodolfo Lavin , Tom Anderson , Michel Jourdain